Is it time for new software?

April 22, 2024 4 min read

Is it time for new software?

With the retirement of WorkflowMax by Xero job costing software on June 26, it's a timely opportunity to review software needs and the processes required to evaluate options. 

Do we really need to change, or can we stick with what we have?

This is a question that should be answered, before considering new software. Sometimes if the vendor is 'sunsetting' the software, there is no choice. A new system is mandatory. 

Which software is going to fit best?

If, however, the question of a new system is related to shortcomings or a need for greater functionality from the existing system, sometimes the answer is not to change systems, but to get better utilisation from the current system. We observe time and again, many systems where users are scratching the surface of the capabilities they are paying for. Before moving on from this question, get advice from experts in your software to determine if there is more capability, lying untapped in the current system. Often there is. An investment in training, configuration and the adoption of best practice workflows can save thousands of dollars in spending on an unnecessary new system. 

Starting with what you know is a useful approach. What are the good things about your current system that you need in a new system? Add to that list the functionality or features you wish to aspire to.
With the current change in WorkflowMax, current users are fortunate enough to be able to migrate to a new version of the same product that has been created by a new vendor. The intention is to create continuity from the old WorkflowMax to the new WorkflowMax. The new version will have a similar menu structure and existing data will migrate easily. If it all comes to fruition on time, this solution is by far the easiest for WfM users who are happy with the current product. 

The WorkflowMax pathway provides pathway options that often don't exist. Usually, when a vendor shuts down a product, users are left high and dry. That means users must explore replacement solutions for themselves. This can be a huge mission and the process may be aided by experts in the fields who can guide customers along a more direct path to solutions.

How do we evaluate options?

The evaluation of software can be a huge task. For some organisations, the checklist of scenarios they need to test is lengthy and exhaustive. That approach is often employed for ERP solutions. For off-the-shelf systems that have fewer settings to tweak the evaluations can be based on how well the software handles the typical workflows of the business.

When are we ready to go live?
With off-the-shelf systems, the effort put into configuration and data upload is rewarded by a smooth go-live process. The days of parallel running are long gone. It tends to be a waste of time and money. Current systems generally do what they are supposed to do, so a clean cutover to the new system is the best way to go live.

Training ahead of going live is useful if it's done at a high level with the expectation of having to repeat it. Our observation is that most people don't retain the knowledge that is taught about a new system until they have to use it. Training is most effective at the point of going live.

What will it cost?

There are costs charged by the software vendor for their base product and there will often be incremental charges for more features or integration capabilities. The total of these costs may not always be apparent from a pricelist. A custom quote from the vendor will be more accurate.
Costs are also incurred for the implementation. Implementations vary considerably based on several factors:

  1. Quality of the data.
  2. The presence of a Champion of the project by the client.
  3. The amount of self-directed learning undertaken.
  4. Discuss with your implementation partner the ways you can reduce costs during the setup of the software.

How will staff learn a new system?

We have come across a wide range of user skill sets, but the true testament to a successful software transition often comes down to attitude. Users keen for change and improvement will be the most effective when learning new software. If staff are curious about the software and are enthusiastic to explore online help, this can often be the difference between a good transition and a great one. 
New software can be intimidating for some people, leading to resistance to change. The best way to alleviate these concerns is to provide guidance and training around best practices and processes to follow. With a little hand-holding during the initial use of the system, users quickly get to see their own data working and take ownership of the system, making the processes routine.
We're happy to help. With our expertise in business systems, we are in a good position to help clients extract the most out of their current system, selecting and evaluating prospective systems, and implementing, training and supporting new systems.

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